What is the Academic Senate? What can you do as part of the student body? And who actually elects the University Executive Board? Anyone who is new to the university is probably not familiar with many of the terms, committees, and electoral processes. As a student, you can get involved and help shape university life. We tell you how you can go about it.
The University of Bremen is a self-governed and democratic institution. Various committees decide what happens at the university and in your studies. This ranges from what money is spent on, which examination regulations apply, how the professorships are composed to what courses are on offer.
You Have a Say in Everything
The committees are represented by anyone who works or studies at the university: professors, research associates, technical and administrative staff and, of course, students. For you, this means: the University wants your opinion. Not only can you elect your stakeholders to the committees, but you can also help shape university policy yourself.
Many students are actively addressing their concerns and issues. They set up clubs, initiatives, and working groups and get involved. Reinforcements are always welcome. The University of Bremen endorses such activities because they contribute significantly to the continuous improvement of the study situation. So all you need to do is find out what’s out there and have a say in what happens.
For example, you can become a part of StugA. It’s the student body, also known as a student council at other universities. This is where the students of a degree course meet to discuss current problems, exchange ideas with other committees, or propose the student representatives for the faculty council.
Who Is Responsible for What?
The Student Council (SR – Studierendenrat) Is Your Parliament
The 25 members are elected annually by all students of the university. The SR determines student contributions and decides on a budget. It also elects the board of the student union, or the Allgemeiner Studierenden Ausschuss (AStA) as it’s known.
University Policy Lists Are the Student Parties
They contain the names of students who are running for the student council. The term “list” refers to the lists of candidates for election that must be submitted to the election committee. Some lists are close to and partly supported by political parties. Others are party-independent. Individuals can also create lists.
The Academic Senate (AS) Is the Most Important Self-Governing Body
As a university parliament, the AS brings together all stakeholders in order to carry out advisory, controlling, and strategic tasks. Its resolutions affect the entire university – from the election of a new University Executive Board to the establishment of new degree courses and faculties. The board is chaired by the President of the University of Bremen. Students are able to make themselves heard and have a say in decisions at the highest level, not only on the faculty councils, but also on the AS.
The AStA Represents the Interests of the Students
This also includes helpful services such as student grants and social counseling, car rental, bicycle self-help workshop, and support for projects and events. The substantive work is carried out by the AStA units and working groups. Examples of presentations are: university policy and society, sustainability, student housing, construction, and inclusion. All presentations are open to your active participation. At the AStA, you can also find out which policy lists are currently active at the University of Bremen. You can find more information during regular office hours and on the AStA website.
This text was published in the “Ersti magazine”. As a first-semester student, you will receive helpful tips for starting your studies and the current semester. Find out directly from students at the University of Bremen where they like to learn on campus, what their day-to-day studies look like, and what activities they are involved in. The magazine is available as a printed edition on campus and can be downloaded online as a PDF (in German only).